Bulge Bracket Banks Analysis for MBA Veterans

If you decide to recruit for banking next year, you will have to decide on which type of banks to apply too. By the way, I really advise that you do RECRUIT for banking, do a SUMMER INTERNSHIP with banking, but DON’T ACCEPT AN OFFER from a bank (topic of another post coming soon). I focused on bulge bracket banks (but you may want to add boutique, middle-market- you can find better definitions elsewhere on the internet) and there are many ways to categorize them, but I prefer to do it this way to start it off, ranking within groups is just what I perceive is the MBA/market/my personal sentiment:
American Banks with Retail/Commercial Deposits (Large Balance Sheets):
1. J.P. Morgan
2. Bank of America Merrill Lynch
3. Citigroup

Large balance sheets make investment banking somewhat easier because you can provide multiple services for your clients, i.e. line of credit, in addition to mergers and acquisition advisory services. Problem is that banks don’t make much off of lines of credit and other commercial banking activity so it is a double-edged sword.

Broker-Dealers, Traditional Investment Banks (Small Balance Sheets)
1. Goldman Sachs
2. Morgan Stanley
3. Credit Suisse

Before the financial crisis forced some of them (maybe all?) to be bank holding companies, these guys were mainly focused on proprietary trading. CS has probably the best private bank, GS has probably the best sales and trading, and MS and GS always vie for the top in investment banking and I think historically and even today, GS is still dominating. MS dominates technology without a doubt. CS had a really crappy year for banking, down there with UBS.

Foreign Banks with Deposits in Home Country
1. Deutsche Bank
2. Barclays
3. UBS

I never thought about it this way until a veteran banker told me but he said to never work for a foreign bank unless you don’t have a choice. Do you think the Germans are going to be the first to get cut at DB or the Swiss being the first to be cut at CS, or the Americans? Yeah. And frankly if you are going to give your soul up to banking….might as well help America.


Veteran Networks

Another thing that you should really think about being a veteran and all is how strong the veteran networks are. There are actually a decent amount of Managing Directors at most banks who are veterans in banking and sales and trading so there is a certain level of support and mentorship that you can expect. However, being a veteran is far from being a “ticket” into banking – there are a shitload of ex-O3s running all over the place. Especially Navy Sub guys (JP Morgan Co-Heads of Recruiting for Columbia are both Navy Sub guys)…..but I digress.

Overall Rank Bank Veterans Network Rank Comments
1 GS  4 Didn’t get an interview from GS, but let’s face it, it’s still “King of the Street” and everybody knows it, everybody wants to be there. Culture is pretty stiff but you want GS on your resume. Total love/hate/envy relationship here.
2 JPM  3 Very active group, everyone seems more polished than the other banks. Look at JPM as a corporation that happens to be in the banking industry rather than being a bank. Just a great corporation to work for.
3 MS  2 This bank has a very old-school “American” feel to it. They’ve got tons of veterans and they will treat you right.
4 CS  1 Bet you didn’t think a Swiss bank would be #1 but they had the first veterans group and they are a bunch of party animals and fun to be with.
5 BAC  6 There are veterans, but the organization of the veterans group could be better. Being a large organization makes it hard to be cohesive. But then again….JPM does it well and they are larger.
6 DB  8 If you find a US military veteran at DB…..let me know…
7 BCS  5 If you are surprised that a British bank would rank higher than some American banks, I was too at first. Then I realized that they purchased Lehman’s investment bank and it started to make sense to me.
8 C  7 Same thing with BAC, there are veterans, but the organization could be stronger if it had a strong sponsor.
9 UBS  9 Who cares? UBS is imploding.

4 thoughts on “Bulge Bracket Banks Analysis for MBA Veterans

  1. Chris Armstrong

    Would you please explain why NOT to accept full-time offer following summer internship? Thanks

    1. admin Post author

      Sorry for the late reply: A common reason for not accepting a full-time offer is because you hate working for the company. It will become apparent that you can work for a variety of companies that are happy to have you as an employee and you really shouldn’t work for a company if you hate working for them. Also, you might not get the summer internship that you wanted, and in that case, you are just leveraging your current summer internship for another full-time job

  2. John

    I just came across this last week–DB’s head of investment banking is a vet (john eydenberg) Naval academy grad and great guy.


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